Thanksgiving Traditions & Memories

Thanksgiving is an exciting time of year for me.  For one thing, I like to eat.  It’s also when the weather seems to switch into the winter season, my favorite time of year.  Even hot weather fans, like my Beautiful Wife, have to like the beauty of the first snows of the season.  Along with the changing weather, and emerging holiday season, humanity in general seems to refresh with the theme of “Good will to all.” 

            As a child, I remember that my Grandparents, who lived up in Canada, celebrated Thanksgiving over a month before we did down in the USA.  Now it is interesting to me how these traditions began.  Our North American tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving certainly got its roots from the various European harvest festivals.  The earlier timing of the Canadian Thanksgiving probably has something to do with the fact that in that more northern country, the harvest is earlier in the year than in the USA. 

            I wonder about my own family Thanksgiving traditions.  How much of what we do to celebrate this holiday has been handed down from generation to generation?  As I have studied my family history, I realize that much of what I do and say is in fact a tradition, sometimes unknowingly handed down from earlier generations.  I have no written record of how my ancestors observed Thanksgiving, so I am only left with my imagination of what traditions were past down to me.  But I see the pattern as I remember Thanksgiving as a child, as I think of how my Beautiful Wife and I celebrate it as a family, and now as I observe what my grown children think is important to perpetuate into their own families.

            When I was little, I remember that Thanksgiving day started early like any other day.  We had the farm chores to do like always, but on this day, we tried to have everything done early.  Most of the day was spent being lazy around the house.  This was one of the rare days when we would actually get out a board game, like monopoly.  Yes, Monopoly was definitely one of our Thanksgiving Day traditions.  Football games on TV was not a tradition at our house.  If we weren’t entertained by playing games inside, we’d be outside playing in the snow.  Sledding down a hill, or being pulled behind a tractor or some other vehicle in our large yard was ever popular.  To this day, I have never gone snow skiing.  That was just something the rich people did.  That may change soon though.

            After our wonderful dinner, we usually played both in doors and out until it was time to do chores again.  I didn’t mind going out to work for a few hours after dinner.  It was a good way to rework the appetite so I could go another round at that great dinner. 

            Other good memories include when we went to Colorado to my Aunt and Uncle’s place for Thanksgiving.  I probably wouldn’t still remember that trip but our car lost the windshield defroster on our 500 mile ride home, and we had to take that winter ride with the windows rolled down. 

For several years, our family participated in Thanksgiving services as a community.  All the denominations participated as well as anyone else from the community who was willing.  Music and prayers of Thanksgiving were offered.  That was a good experience to do something like that with the whole community.

            I think my favorite Thanksgiving memory is of when My Beautiful Wife and I were just starting to establish our own traditions.  This was our first year as a married couple celebrating Thanksgiving.  We lived on the family farm, about a quarter mile from my parent’s home.  Because of her wonderful abilities as a cook, we offered to bake the pies for the extended family gathering at my parent’s home where our big feast would take place.  I have lost track of how many different kinds of pies we made, but it was a lot.  Banana Cream, Chocolate cream.  Cherry, Apple (my favorite), Lemon Merguine (my other favorite), Pumpkin (my other, other favorite), were all on the list.  I think we made about a dozen pies that year. 

            And then we had to transport all those pies down to my parent’s house.  This shouldn’t have been a hard task, but it had been snowing and blowing that day.  So the lane between our houses was drifted in.  I’ll never forget seeing the look of disbelief at how much snow there was, on my Beautiful Wife’s face as she tried to struggled to wade through all the snow that hadn’t been there only hours earlier.  It was quite a change for this Southern California girl who was now wondering what she had gotten herself into.  All turned out well as we arrived safely and then enjoyed the Thanksgiving dinner Haroldsen style. 

            Well, today Thanksgiving dinner is even more stylish as my Beautiful Wife has brought her best family traditions to join with my best family traditions, and we have created our own unique brand of Thanksgiving at the Haroldsens.  There is still no football at our house, but the food is better than ever, with her brined turkey, homemade dinner rolls to die for, potatoes and gravy, salads, and vegetables fixed for a king.  And of course for desert there will be at least a half a dozen different kinds of pie, including my favorite, my other favorite, and my other, other favorite.   

13 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Traditions & Memories”

  1. Oh the memories.  Yes, they still have the Thanksgiving morning service affectionately known as the "Turkey Choir". That’s where I first laid eyes on Mike.  And that trip from Colorado?   I remember it very well [[teeth start chattering uncontrollably]].  Thanksgiving was always snowy back then, it seems.  This year, so far at least, no snow and quite warm (50 degrees).  Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your whole family.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your beautiful wife and family.  I truly enjoyed reading your story about the traditions you have incorporated over the years to become those you have now.  Enjoy those favorite pies.  I made a cherry pie for Mr. Guppie as that is his favorite…  hugs, lottiemae and Mr. G.

  3. I bought a pecan pie from work, which is one of my favorites, but my very very favoritist pie is boysenberry. Mmmmmmm boysenberry anything is my favorite. Wishing you another memorable Thanksgiving.

  4. Hi, my storytelling friend!!!
    Yours is a family rich in love and tradition; may you and your Beautiful Wife and your children celebrate many, many Thanksgivings for years to come, making new memories to treasure as the time flies past!
    My little family has celebrated a couple Thanksgivings; wonderful food and family ties rekindled…
    Now I’m waiting for my full tummy to settle and for some ideas to present themselves regarding these leftovers I must deal with.
    Ready for Christmas now?
    Me, I’ve never been more ready!
    Peace and love, always…

    Mornin’, Ron…
    please forgive my leaving a personal message in your comment space; please delete it if you see fit.
    I don’t use the MSN Friends List because it affects the way my blog functions for some reason I’ve been unable to discern. I do have my Little Boat Crew List and would like very much to add your name to it; I thought I had some time ago, but was mistaken. If you will give me permission, I will create a link to your space there; I would like very much for my friends to meet you and read your wonderful stories. Please let me know either way at your convenience.
    Thank you, my friend.
    Peace and love, always…

  6. It was just to say hello Ron… I was thinking to write about "traditions"… By the way, which one is black, which one is white for you and me?.. I accept to be black. Anyway… Have a nice weekend.

  7. Those were great memories and family traditions.  My mother always made the Thanksgiving meal and my mother’s family would come over.  We lived in a suburb of Minneapolis which was considered a far away destination.  It was probably 30 miles from downtown where my grandparents lived.  Lots of cousins and autns and uncles and my grandparents would show up.  We had a big house and so us kids would go upstairs to play board games and catch up on each others lives.  The adults would all be downstairs talking a mile a minute and preparing the dinner.  Grandma would have brought over pies, an aunt would have brought over all kinds of homemade candy and cookies and everyone brought something.  After the dinner we would end up outside ice skating or just chasing each other through the snow.  Late in the afternoon everyone would go home and my family would pack up what remained of dinner and take it to my fathers parents apartment in Minneapolis.  It was a very tiny 1 bedroom apartment and we would spread it out on their small table. It was very formal. Their kitchen was no larger than my broom closet.  Us kids knew that we were to eat very little of the food and claim that we were full.  We ate very dainty helpings of the food so that the bulk of it was left for my grandparents.  They were poor and ddi not like coming over because we had so many kids and made noise.  At their apartment we all sat on the floor and did not talk above a whisper.  By 7 we were on our way back home and in bed by 9.  usually I was carried to my room because I would fall asleep with my brothers and sisters in the back seat.  We would all be piled on each other.  2 on the floor and 2 on the seat and baby brother on top of the floor sleepers.  I hated the hump in the middle of the floor but was still able to pass out.

  8. Happy Thanks giving to you and your family. I think that the one that was bothering your wife was at my space as well as many others.
    Hope you are both well and happy, and your family,

  9. Hi Ron,
    I had to laugh out loud, I too have more than one favorite pie!! Loved the story of driving home with windows down in frigid weather…BRRRR.

  10. Hi Ron,
    So glad that you enjoyed the skiing. I have only tried cross country skiing but haven’t gone for a long time. I’ve never tried downhill skiing because there’s not a lot of hills here!! Our forecast is for snow, snow and more snow – you’d love it,lol. 

  11. Hi Ron~I enjoyed your Thanksgiving story so much.  I know your wife must be the best cook and baker becase she is always cooking and baking and sharing her wonderful recipes with us all.  I enjoy so much reading about your large family and what traditions you are (even unwittingly) passing down to so many future generations… This is going to be a verybusy month for you all around there with a wedding and Christmas to look forward to.  Enjoy!

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